Budgets can be painful. For clients, litigation is sometimes painful. Putting them together can viscerally feel like more than twice the pain. However, experienced litigation managers and outside counsel realize that litigation budgets are absolutely critical for both the successful prosecution of a significant piece of litigation and continuous improvement in performance and decision making by both outside counsel and clients.
In our parents’ generation, litigation was described as unpredictable and impossible to budget. In truth, because neither the client nor outside counsel controls the activities of their adversaries or the court, and the liberal discovery rules allow for unanticipated (and often unproductive) activity, the cost is difficult to predict. While that is no doubt true, thousands (and perhaps millions) of commercial transactions from construction projects to manufacturing processes are run on budgets, and those endeavors have at least as much complexity as a single piece of litigation.